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Natural Mosquito Repellent Recipes and Other Ways to Deter Biting Insects

I was outside listening to my boyfriend play the guitar on Sunday and kept getting bitten. It was enough remind me that it’s mosquito season even though I’m not outdoors that often anymore. So I thought it fitting to share a natural bug repellent recipe that I found on Wellness Mama blog.

(photo credit: Good 4 You Herbals)

There are a handful of widely recognized essential oils that possess properties that naturally repel biting insects. These oils include: cedarwood, lavender, lemon, patchouli, neem, peppermint, rosemary, basil, thyme, citronella, lemongrass, pennyroyal, tea tree oil, geranium, catnip, and eucalyptus.

While the recipe from Wellness Mama doesn’t include all of these ingredients, you can use any combination of essential oils you like based on availability or scent preference. Her bug spray calls for including an essential oil blend, boiled water, and witch hazel though you can also make a repellent using an essential oil blend and a carrier oil such as olive oil, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil or even rice bran oil which I like because it’s light but effective.

Wellness Mama Essential Oil Bug Spray


  • Essential oils: choose from Citronella, Clove, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Cajeput, Eucalyptus, Cedar, Catnip, Lavender, Mint  (Natural, organic essential oils available from Mountain Rose Herbs.)
  • Natural Witch Hazel
  • Distilled or boiled Water
  • Vegetable glycerin (optional)


  1. Fill spray bottle (I used 8 ounce) 1/2 full with distilled or boiled water
  2. Add witch hazel to fill almost to the top
  3. Add 1/2 tsp vegetable glycerin if using
  4. Add 30-50 drops of essential oils to desired scent. The more oils you use, the stronger the spray will be. My personal favorite mix is: Rosemary, Clove, Cajeput, Lavender, Cinnamon and Eucalyptus… it works great and smells good too!

Be sure to visit Wellness Mama for other terrific recipe ideas including how to make bug repellent from fresh or dried herbs, a super strong insect repelling recipe, and other simple insect repelling ideas. There’s also an article for making your own natural homemade sunscreen!

If you’re not a fan of spray on insect repellents, you may want to try a handmade soap that contains essential oils known for repelling biting insects. While soap is a wash off product, my brother always takes a bar of my Lemon Mint Soap with him camping as it contains lemongrass and peppermint and claims it works great for keeping biting insects at bay.

You can buy natural essential oils for your homemade soap recipes from Mountain Rose Herbs. You can also find a simple handmilled soap recipe for Bug Away Handmilled Soap on Soap Deli News if you prefer to make your own.

(photo credit: Green Girls Market)

If you plan to be outdoors on a patio or garden area often, there are plants you can grow that naturally repel insects as well. These cultivated plants include: citronella grass, catnip, rosemary, peppermint, marigolds, lemon balm, garlic clove, eucalyptus, tea tree and lavender. Naturally having an herb garden that contains these plants by your favorite outdoor spot will mean fewer biting insects.

If you’re looking to harvest wild plant varieties, you can rub vanilla leaf on your skin to deter mosquitoes. This also works with mugwort, sagebrush, wormwood, wild bergamot, sweetfern and pineapple weed.

Note that the applications will only last up to one to hours and will then need to be reapplied. Looking to buy natural, organic essential oils for your own bug repellant? Be sure to check out the quality selection of organic essential oils from Mountain Rose Herbs.


  • Anna

    June 22, 2011 at 2:41 am

    Thank you for linking up to the Weekend Warrior Link Party! I FB & Tweeted this. I love it!


  • Janice

    June 24, 2011 at 1:56 am

    I stumbled your post! Visiting from Stumble Me Friday. I also followed you on GFC. Hope you can stop by and return the love!

  • Screaming Sardine

    June 24, 2011 at 3:51 am

    Stumbled your post. Thanks so much for the info. We have a ton of mosquitos here and I hate using all those harsh chemicals. Glad to know there are alternatives, which I’ll be checking out. πŸ™‚

    Tracy Screaming Sardine

  • Courtney O’Dell

    June 24, 2011 at 4:02 am

    Such a great idea! Im starting a summer party ideas link party on fridays, I’d love for you to come share this!



    June 24, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    I have four children who love the great outdoors, what a terrific alternative to some of the harsher toxic smelling products on the market! I found you on Stumble Me Friday and am glad to stumble this along! πŸ˜›

  • Just Jaime

    June 24, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Awesome! I hate the way bug spray smells!

  • Stephanie {Luxe Boulevard}

    June 24, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Thank you for this! I need to make this for my hubs. He swells like crazy. Thanks for linking it up to the Throwback Thursday link party. Linky open through Sunday.


  • Jessica @ Barefoot by the Sea

    June 26, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    Wonderful! Thanks so much for this! Newest follower!

  • Steph

    June 27, 2011 at 1:52 am

    LOVE this too! Follow back when you can! πŸ™‚

  • Mindie Hilton

    June 28, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Thanks for linking to Bacon Time, I am going to feature this on Friday’s features, I am sure we could all stand to avoid these nasty bugs. I live near a lot of lakes so we have problems every year. Thanks for linking and hope to see you this week too.

  • Sara

    June 28, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    Thanks for linking up with the Stumble Me Friday hop! I hope you link up again this week! I loved reading your post πŸ™‚

  • Carolyn

    June 29, 2011 at 12:47 am

    The natural bug repellent is an excellent recipe. We have far too many chemicals already. Thanks for posting.

  • Kassandra @ Coffee and their Kisses

    June 30, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Hello! I’m Kassandra and I featured this awesomeness here at my blog Coffee and their Kisses. I hope you’ll come by and grab a featured button located at the end of the post. Thanks so much! Have a great day!!

  • Holly

    June 30, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    This is awesome. I love being able to make my own essentials like this. Thanks for sharing it on my FB wall (Tickled Pink last week). I am anew follower too. LOVE it!
    504 Main

  • To Sew With Love

    July 2, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    thanks for sharing this! have a lovely weekend!

  • Monica

    February 9, 2012 at 11:22 am

    do you use 30-50 drops of *each* essential oil, or 30-50 drops total?
    thanks πŸ™‚

  • Rebecca D. Dillon

    February 10, 2012 at 2:36 am


  • Anonymous

    August 8, 2012 at 4:46 am

    who makes those cute labels on your products?

  • Anonymous

    October 27, 2012 at 1:51 pm


  • Rebecca D. Dillon

    October 28, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    I purchase my labels in bulk for a great price at onlinelabels.com

  • Anonymous

    November 15, 2012 at 5:09 am

    Do you have a remedy for wasp’s? Would love to have it. Thanks.

Comments are closed.

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